By Gabriel Crosetti @gabecrosetti
Freedom of speech has been a hot topic in the United States recently. Especially here in the Bay area, where just over a week ago, protests at UC Berkeley turned destructive and violent, preventing a lecture from taking place on campus.
The speaker, Milo Yiannopoulis, a gay conservative author and editor, isn’t a crowd favorite amongst liberals due to his provocative and unfiltered statements.
Yiannopoulis was scheduled to speak in front of a sold-out crowd in the lecture hall, when protesters, consisting of students and activists, blocked off the entrance of the lecture hall and prevented hundreds of students from attending the lecture. The protests then quickly escalated, as many of you may know.
This instance was not the first, as a lecture by the same speaker, was also shut down last month at UC Davis by protestors.
These demonstrations at UC Berkeley and UC Davis prove that our right to freedom of speech under the first amendment is being abused in our country, particularly on college campuses.
Whether the speaker appearing on campus is conservative, liberal, libertarian, or even vegetarian, their right to freedom speech should be protected and respected by the students and the community.
I am not saying students should not protest, that would also be taking away their right to protest and freedom of speech, but shutting down the lecture because the speaker has opposing political views is a threat to our rights as citizens of the United States, and an act of negligence towards our constitution.
The conservative speaker would’ve been foolish to not expect any backlash from students at one of the most liberal campuses in the country. But the end result of the protests at Berkeley are definitely very worrying and make people across the country fear of what might take place on college campuses in the near future.
Just as there were hundreds of students and protestors who were against the lecture taking the place, there were also hundreds of people who wanted to attend and listen to the speaker, and even paid upwards of $60 on eBay to attend the sold-out lecture.
It is unfair that the students on the other end of the political spectrum were not allowed to attend the lecture. And the same has always applied to non-political lectures and events.
Imagine if there were to be a Lady Gaga concert here at Las Positas, and you bought your ticket months in advance. Only for you to show up to the Mertes Building, to a large crowd of Beyonce fans, not allowing you to enter the event.
Just like any speaker set to make an appearance in a college campus lecture hall, Lady Gaga is entitled to her first amendment rights and she has the right to perform all her classic hit singles in front of her fans, despite the amount of Lady Gaga haters there are out there.
Freedom of speech is a right, but taking it away from other people based on your own opinion, is not what this country stands for.